High on my list of museums to visit was the Rijksmuseum. It is one of the "must see" sights on everyone's list. The museum recently re-opened after a significant renovation and it is very impressive. The collection is housed on four floors, although most everyone seems to congregate on the second floor where the Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Steen paintings are hung. These aren't them. I guess it does show that cute cat pictures were popular before the Internet. And what can you say about pugs? Great dogs.
And yes, the Rembrandt and Vermeer paintings were also great. I was also taken by this picture of the Dutch countryside. It's by Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriel and is called "A Windmill on a Polder Waterway." I was struck by the way he used the canal to reflect the rest of the picture. Quite a captivating picture I thought.
We also took in the Amsterdam History Museum. Altough it doesn't get the top billing of places the Rijksmuseum or the Van Gogh Museum, it was a lot of fun and very informative about Dutch history and culture. An audio tour is included with the price of admission. The exhibits mix traditional presentation with interactive AV. You start with the first settlements on the Amstel River and see how the city grew and how the settlers kept the village from sinking into the marshland. That battle against the wet ground underneath the city continues today, which make the existence of Amsterdam rather amazing.